The debate on a completed life is far from complete. It is a difficult, complex and challenging endeavor to determine what a completed life is given the fact that this is influenced by a wide array of complicating factors, especially in older persons. One of these most challenging factors is to differentiate between a 'normal' death wish and suicidal behavior that may be present in patients with a psychiatric condition, even at higher age. In this commentary, we reflect on this difficult differentiation and emphasize the importance of rigorous psychiatric classification of people with a death wish, and we encourage the use of valid psychiatric screening instruments. Finally we do a plea for more and rigorous research to disentangle the differences between a 'normal' death wish and a death wish that can be partially predisposed by psychiatric symptomatology. We are convinced that more and rigorous research is needed to answer the complex nature of a death wish as a phenomenon. Moreover, these results should first be debated within the scientific community before the results may be wrongly interpreted by media and politicians with the undesirable effect that incorrect interpretation may sway the public opinion and political decisions.
|Translated title of the contribution||Elderly people with a death wish?: Don't forget to take a psychiatrist's point of view|
|Journal||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde|
|Publication status||Published - 3 Jun 2021|